Thursday, November 1, 2012

Republicans Stealing Another Election Under Your Noses. No Shame!

I am pissed. So it begins. Election Night is never the end, Americans.   It's only the beginning. In our lifetime (some of you were babies) it began with dirty tricks on the DNC -- and Watergate which elected Nixon. Then we have Reagan's election where American lives were toyed with Iran Contra, giving aide to Iran privately to keep the US hostages in that situation so Carter's re-election could be sabotaged and the hostages coming home on Reagan's election day. Then we have the last Gore vs. Bush Florida poll fiasco and the"all to gentlemanly" Al Gore GIVING UP the election by conceding rather than fighting it. So THIS has to be fought! The Republican Party did not learn from Watergate any thing except they can get away with stealing elections and sabotaging the democratic process because the American public thinks that election day ends the work. It only BEGINS!!! Fight it now!

From America Blog:

“Glitch” wipes out 1,000 early votes in black FL neighborhood

Always Florida

There was a story over at NBC’s The Grio three days ago noting that at one Florida polling location, in a heavily black neighborhood, the number of people who voted early was suddenly “revised” from 2,945 to 1,942 – that’s a 34% decrease.
At first, polling officials blamed it on a “computer glitch.”  Uh huh.  And what glitch would that be?
The local supervisor of elections (SOE) didn’t inspire a lot of hope when speaking about another, smaller, change to the early voting numbers at another polling location:
Broward SOE spokesperson Mary Cooney acknowledged that the Sunday totals were revised, and said she would look into why.
“I can’t tell you definitively now,” Cooney said, “but I queried the person who posts those numbers and the most significant number he told me he changed was an instance where 1050 should have been 1150 — the numbers were transposed.”
He transposed the numbers by hand? And this is how Florida tallies votes?
The Grio followed up on the story the next day, Tuesday of this week, and got a different answer about the 1,000 vote discrepancy: now they’re saying “human error.”
The SOE chief says the changes, particularly at a polling place in a predominantly black neighborhood where National Action Network chief and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton and a group of pastors held “souls to the polls” rallies over the weekend, were the result of human error.
In a telephone interview with theGrio late Monday, Snipes said the SOE’s office runs two tallies — one manually calculated at the precincts by adding up the total number of voters swiped through an electronic voter identification system called EVID, which was purchased from a Florida vendor, and a second, electronic tally conducted at the Supervisor of Elections office after the polls close each day. The electronic numbers go directly to a database.  Snipes said the woman who tallied the votes at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, which had its vote tally revised downward by 1,003, simply added the numbers incorrectly.
“The woman made a mistake,” Snipes said. “That was absolutely an addition error. The actual numbers are 1942 not 2945, so she made an addition error.”
In the future, they’re only going to report the electronic result, which still begs the question of which result is really correct, and what else do they do that might result in human error?  Not to mention, why did they first say it was a computer glitch?
And why is it always Florida?  Why always in a heavily Democratic precinct, and why do the errors always help the other guy?  Remember that Florida is already dealing with a widespread GOP voter fraud scandal.  From my earlier post of a month ago:
We reported last night that a firm doing business with the National Republican Committee and the Romney campaign was being investigated for voter fraud. The firm has done $2.9 million in business with the Republican National Committee this year alone, and another firm run by the same did $80,000 in work for Romney.
And, as I said last night, harkening back to all the faux outrage from Republicans claiming that ACORN was trying to steal the election: “Republicans accuse us of doing what they are, and we’re not.” AP has more:
What first appeared to be an isolated problem in one Florida county has now spread statewide, with election officials in at least seven counties informing prosecutors or state election officials about questionable voter registration forms filled out on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida.
Lux said there have been forms that listed dead people and were either incomplete or illegible. He met with local prosecutors on Friday, but added that his staff was still going through hundreds of forms dropped off by Strategic employees.
Lux, who is a Republican, said he warned local party officials earlier this month when he first learned the company was paying people to register voters.
“I told them ‘This is not going to end well,’” Lux said.
Always Florida.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Danger of a Single Story

This is a wonderful speech told by an author who I am now very interested in reading.  Chimamanda Adichie talks in personal narratives about how a single story narrows a readers' mind, a nation's mind against others.  Adichie also shows how power and stories -- who writes them, who they are about, what they say -- intersect.  Writing is still so relevant.  Start a blog!  I invite you to check out my favorite blogs.  Three are news.  One is Angry Asian Man with whom I check to check my perception.  For example, when a newly published book slandered Richard Aoki, former Asian Black Panther, as an FBI snitch, I immediately went to Angry Asian Man and was comforted with his similar reaction, pissed, worried about the vulnerability of Richard's legacy since he died last year, and wondering what would happen.  Much to my relief, the Panthers stood by Richard.  Representatives responded by saying that these allegations have been leveled at many Panthers through the decades and is a tactic to break alliances.  Richard represents a cross cultural alliance.  The Panthers and APA community in Oakland held an event to make it more public.  I appreciated that, realizing it is not only the reputation of a good warrior, but it is the alliance of what we called Third World Peoples which was so precious to us.

Three of my favorite blogs are by people a good generation or two younger than I.  There is Racialicious, which is delicious discussions about race intersecting with pop culture written by many people.  "Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. "

Another blog is written by my young friend Marc Dadigan.  His parents are exactly my age.  I met Marc, in the MA program of creative writing and journalism at the UO.  When he graduated, he had no job, and had to get out of his apartment.  He embedded himself at the Winnemem Village in a little trailer, found a job working with mental health clients, and now is a great advocate for their human rights.  Not only that, he has become someone my friend Marcus Amerman calls a "super hero" -- an ordinary man who has unusual powers.  Marcus calls him "The Crusader."  That's because Marc's super power is his honesty in the face of the toughest challenges.  Crusader also suits him because he is fearless if the cause is justice.  He is writing a book about the Winnemem as well as what someone described as "carry water chop wood."  

The third blog which is new is by Monica Christoffels, a young Asian American woman, Filipina, who writes passionately, with such a true voice about taking action.  The first of her blog I've read is about her experience standing with those who are fighting tar sands in Toronto.  She takes the photos and writes the story so we can be right there with her -- this time with the powerful words of First Nations Women, always on the front lines for the Earth.

These two blogs have something in common.  They are told from the front lines, from the ground, from being there, from doing.  No armchair reporting.   I think that is why I am the most drawn to these blogs.

Grateful for the many stories people who show us the true picture of humanity, the true expression of real power.  As Chimamanda Adichie said, "A single story can break a person, but many stories can heal the break."  Read Marc Dadigan and Monica Christoffels and you will not pity the oppressed; you will embrace resistance!  It will take the veil from our eyes and make fire up our blood.

"Hozho" by Lyla Johnston

  I'm thinking that a measure of a successful life might very well be to have met Lyla, to stand in Lyla's loving light and to understand Lyla's poetry. To be 67 and all these things, I'm feeling pretty good today.  I wonder, if I need to say, Lyla loves.  Lyla loves every being, every thing.  To be satisfied to be loved by Lyla just might be the perfect State of Being.  Don't you think?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Dedicated to the YES and WE --  Bob Flor, Martha Choe, Marcine Anderson, Peggy Nagae, Bob Shimabukuro, Chisao Hata, Michael Kan, Alan Osaki, Lynn Osaki, Lori Osaki Wahl, Joe Wahl, Debbie McDaniels, Debbie Abe, Hugo Kurose, Stan Shikuma, Tracy Lai, Russell Baba, Jeanie Mercer, Bill Blauveldt, Nobuko Miyamoto, Peter Kwang, Janice Mirikitani, Sharon Hashimoto, Debbie Osato, Wendy Ng, Bettie Sing Luke, Anselmo Villanueva, Susana Wong, Carole Iwamoto, Lawson Inada, Frank Abe, Frank Chin, Curtis Choy, Shizue Shikuma, Lois Yoshishige, Remie Calalang, Iwalani Raes, Barbara Date, Steve Morozumi, Lynn Fujiwara, Bobby Lee, Bob Santos, Yuri Kochiyama and Rest in Peace, Al Robles, Philip Vera Cruz

This was the first UO Multicultural Alumni Reunion I've gone to since it began five years ago.  For me, it was like Medicine!

The experience began when APASU students asked me to speak on the "old days" which I did.  It was great fun to meet up with the energetic, dynamic, fun-loving, articulate, talented APASU  members and the other APIA students they were trying to recruit into the club.  And it was nice to be able to talk about the Seventies and Eighties and how AASU and what is now PACAlliance did together to change the landscape of the campus and of this city, wherever we worked, and always together across ethnic, racial, sexual orientation and economic lines.

The next day was Homecoming Friday, and Twila Souers, Anselmo Villanueva, Marshall Sauceda and I were visiting the basement of the EMU where all our student unions are located.  I stepped into APASU to say hi, and there was Alan Osaki, Seattle, second APASU director 30 some years ago!  And with him, of course, Mike Kan, Los Angeles, third APASU director.  They were visiting UO for Alan's daughter, Alexa, who is choosing a college and with their wives, Gigi Kan and Alan's wife, Phyllis Verzosa.   It was great!!!  Alan posed at his old desk.  I teased him he needed to take off his shirt because he always worked in that cramped space in his undershirt.  BTW, the cramped office is gone.  They had posed in the part of the old EMU where the office once was right next to the bowling alley.  Both had totally disappeared with reconstruction!    Mike was going through the files, pulling stuff out "I did this!" When Alan observed there wasn't much in the file cabinet, Elizabeth, APASU leader whose energy is so much like yours, Martha, laughed and said "we have computer files now!!"  Alan's daughter was holding a East West Players flyer saying, "Dad?  Is this thing . . . typed?!??"   Elizabeth said, she had picked up a layout original, and parts of it had fallen off.  They put it in a file thinking, if they touched it it would destroy it, and as Elizabeth described, " like it was a sacred object or something. "    It was fun.

All the way back up I-5 to Portland where they were going to have a family thing with the Osaki's, the two, Alan and Mike, could not stop brainstorming.  Mike emailed me the next day, Saturday and between Saturday and today, Tuesday, he has sent me no less than 15 emails:

Mike wrote, "Yes, today was truly an unexpected blessing. You look great, sound great and haven't lost any of that infectious energy. After today, my wife Gigi has been encouraging that Alan and I make a return to Eugene and offer to the students a "success workshop" or "Be victorious or be a victim, but you cannot be both."Both Gigi and I are passionate about exposing young adults w the things they don't teach in school, real life stuff. The reality that you can become "successful" w/o compromising ones core values.  We were discussing how many from our group have gone on to achieve success & have remained grounded, evolved and still realize we are all part of a larger community.As for me, I know now that I may not alone change the whole world, but I can have a tremendous influence on my world, then allow the ripple affect to take its course.
You, Martha, Peggy, Kim & Chisao were and have been an influence on me, my global decisions and how I choose to influence others, I want you to know that and know that the work you do matters. Alan and I, along with many others are evidence that you and your efforts matter.  Please continue, we are your ripple affect.  With warm regards, love and gratitude

Then Mike wrote, As we drove back to Seattle, Alan, Phyliss & Gigi and I were discussing this project. Of course this was a 3 hour brainstorming session discussing many "what ifs" on many levels. We thought it appropiate to do something within this academic year, if possiible. With so much on the line in this current election, the impact of which, will affect the future of young people today for many years. They need to vote! so many are not registered, have no knowledge of the "issues" and the affect on their future, the place they take in their community, having an opinion, voicing their opinion, taking action, leaving a legacy, not just being a benefactor of the work of those that came before. I am looking at the need young AA people today need to realize the impact they have on a broad scale.

Talking points:
What programs and/or professional organizations exist and their purpose
Networking (with other university AA organizations. The seed of networking for career nd more)
Mentoring (never stops)
Success development and how to use it
Personal finances
Self development
Leadership development

AO was looking at the "after college" networking benefits for the students and community; (this could have far reaching impact, of course, you'd want to get AO's direct input of ideas and vision).

There will always be the need of developing leaders in worlds of community (politics), academics and business. As you appreciate; "Leadership is everything".

UO APASU could host something, keeping it local or invite OSU, UW, Portland & CA schools.

The financial impact could be minimized to the APASU budget (speaking for AO & I; we'd cover our costs).
Let's keep talking

Then Alan weighs in:  hey guys, sometimes it just feels right.  One of the things that alot of us have to offer are "leadership development lessons."  I look at what you, Mike, Gary, Martha, Peggy have done, and currently do, and it seems a shame to waste all that knowledge and networking experience without imparting it to the next new generation of APA leaders-to-be (generation Y?).  There were some sharp kids in that group who could, and I think would, soak up and use alot of what exists is our professional and community oriented histories.  I think alot of us have come across that same openess to want to understand the "lessons-learned" from politically and community aware friends of our own kids.

Some other related thoughts:  Whatever is done will create the right perception with the current UofO adminstration and will help provide a foundation argument of support for future campaigns and initiatives.  Whatever is done will be relevant to the thoughts and needs of other similar APA student orgnanizatons in the region.  Seattle, Portland, Corvallis, etc. (and of course that creates the right kind of attention to the community).  Last, parts of whatever is done can be tailored (and packaged) in the "language" of today's generation, i.e. use of video, music, visual and performing arts, etc.  

Of course, I responded.   We brainstormed this and we brainstormed that, who, what, when, where.   Alan Osaki starting emailing, then Mike talked with Peggy and she entered the email conversation.   Then Mike sends out no less than 5 sample colorful leaflets, with the concept of a Youth Leadership Conference.  He says Alan's son, Troy, (google Troy Osaki's poetry) started working on these leaflets amping it up for the youth.  Troy is now joining in the idea:  The first annual APASU Youth Leadership Conference is now on paper.

We start throwing out names.   I volunteer PACA.   Alan writes:  It looks like quite a group.  One of the things I always liked about Eugene, was that you had to either hang together or you would end up hanging separately!  Unlike other large west coast urban areas w large Asian populations like L.A., S.F. or even Seattle, in Eugene you couldn't afford to "do your own thing" or not be involved.  In that context, I agree involvement with the PAC Alliance would be essential and logical.


I'm thinking, perhaps, we should write a proposal to APASU framing what we are willing to do.  I email Robbie, APASU Director first to give him a head's up.  He goes to a meeting, and the energetic group ok's it  That is amazing to me.  I tell him, since he's virtually just going on faith, that I will have a proposal in to him.  I get up this morning and write it, the question spreading across the page in bright red  WHEN WILL WE HAVE AN ASIAN OR PACIFIC ISLANDER PRESIDENT?  I sent the proposal to everyone inviting edits, expecting them to have lots of changes.  Then the responses came in.

Peggy says:  This is turning into a family reunion!  It's wonderful and powerful.
Bobby says:  Wow. Looks like a fantastic idea! It's an honor to be part of this event and to working with all of you. Please mark me on board!!

Here's where it starts inside to out with me.  The proposal I wrote starts getting read.
Mike says, "Misa, when I think about you, I see love."
Peggy says, "After all these years, you have been there for ALL of us...Thank you so much!
Alan says,  "Wow!  That took some work - great proposal!  I forgot when you decide to do something, you "really decide" to do it!"

I teared up with Alan's email.   What the Hell?  As I wiped my eyes, I realized these were healing words.

The words "Wow!  That took some work.  Great proposal!  I forgot when you decide to do something, you really decide to do it" melted something frozen in me,  a sentence which not only affirms something I did today, but affirms how I am remembered from the past.  I am a member of a team.  I am a member of a team who brainstorms with fervor and does not say no to anything and it flows and flows, and begins to gel, and when it gels, it's still elastic.  I am loved back as I love.  And if anything is done for fun, there's no one left out.  I am part of a team which, by nature, is excited, energetic, passionate, happy, hardworking, sharing of skills, appreciative of each other and having fun.  At the end of a long phone call, Mike said, "Hey, Misa.  Are you feeling happy?"  I could hear the smile in his voice and he laughed as I shrieked, "I am absolutely thrilled!" to which he said "I can tell!"  That he was not put off with my happiness and that he was pleased I was happy was healing for me.
During the conversation, because I have issues, I said, "Hey Mike, did you know I'm tribal?  I'm still Asian, just not Asian American.  I'm Asian Winnemem."  God knows why I would bring it up except for the hurt.

He said, "Yeah, of course.  I heard about it.  We keep track of each other, you know.  You're all about love, Misa.  I'm not surprised."  To be seen as someone who loves, not someone who's less Asian was healing.  Someone knows me.

When I get dreamy and miss the Seventies and Eighties, I now know  this past weekend wasn't just a Duck homecoming but a real Coming Home.  I know now that I'm not remembering through rose colored glasses, I'm not waxing elegiac.  The Seventies and Eighties were  real.  Those were special days and, more important,  these special days are ahead of us.  We all feel it still.  We all are in love with those days.  It affected our whole lives.  It transformed us.  We tell each other, You Changed Me!  It kept us hopeful, idealistic, loving and unafraid.  It kept us a team.  Like Mike said, "we just picked up from where we were."    I've written your names, Friends of those beautiful times,  and I know there are more of you.  I miss you!  And we're going to do our darnedest to make the reunions happen again!!  Bring some love together!!

I'm not sad anymore because I know that whenever any group of us come together, even 30 years later,  there is enough love to keep us for a long time, just like that, as if no time had passed.  And that is enough.  That is all I can ask for.  I am blessed beyond measure!

Thank you, brothers and sisters AND APASU for some healing love.

Well, Martha just weighed in. " Hi Misa, just saw this and will reply. We are in Dubai right now and waiting to get on our NYC flight !!" and then "It is wonderful to get your and Misa's email. I am super excited to participate so count me in..We are currently in Dubai and tentatively scheduled to fly to NY if Sandy calms down enough to open the airport. I'm giving a speech to the Korean American foundation on Thursday and will be back in Seattle Sunday.Would love to talk with you and see what I can do to help. Thanks so much for the great idea for a reunion and excited to see the next generation in action!"

ONE HUNDRED PER CENT, YES!  We're all "in" for the adventure, and calling it fun, calling it family, calling it love, calling it rabble rousing in just three days of an incredible flurry of emails, from Seattle through Portland, then Eugene to LA, east to Montana and around the globe to Dubai.  Alan just wrote:  Whew...!  Finished reading.  Re the dates, ditto Mike... Re. the keynote speaker, I think it also depends on who we are talking about and what the goals and intent will be.  Possibly, someone who can tie things together and also be a segue to open the door to future strategies (we are thinking future, right?).  Some other thoughts .... Mike talked about a goal of uniting generations to learn from each other.  That is, with the experience learned over the last 40 years, it's almost criminal not to communicate certain lessons to the next crop of young leaders.  And when you tie that in with the natural loyalty all folks of our generation have with their respective alma mater (Ducks, Huskies, Bruins etc) other possibilities arise.  There are API alumni from the 60's & 70's throughout the west coast who I'm pretty sure feel the same way about their school, the way we all feel about Oregon .... Anyway, I can smell fun times ahead!   

I'm going to bed now having read Alan's last email to us: 
Unlike the Rightous Brothers ....  We've got that lovin' feelin' back!  

My heart feels so good, I got on my blog and cut all the hurt feelings out of this piece.  They're gone.  Those are the feelings in the past, waaaaay in the past, and I'm going to leave them there.  The present is Love -- more grey in the hair, but excited, always, open always, and united.

"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.